Corallorhiza maculata
(Rafinesque) Rafinesque
Spotted Coralroot, Large Coralroot

Location Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia.
Specific Habitat

A transcontinental species of the Montane, southern Boreal, Mixed and northern Deciduous Forest regions. Inhabits dryish sites in rich woodlands. Deciduous tree communities are most commonly Beech, Sugar Maple-Beech, and Sugar Maple-Red Oak. Eastern Hemlock is the most commontype of coniferous forest, and a preferred site within deciduous forests. Some colonies are observed on forested slopes at the edges of peatlands , swamps, and ponds.

Flowering SeasonEarly June to early August.

Height 10-50 cm; stem smooth, leafless, madder-purple, brownish or yellowish with several tubular sheaths on the lower part. Raceme loose, few to many flowered.
Flowers similar in colour to the upper part of the stem but a darker shade.
Lip white usually spotted magenta-crimson or madder, three-lobed with terminal lobe broadly rounded and deflexed.
As all colours of the flowering spike are quite variable, a variety of forms have been named:
1) forma flavida (Peck) Cockerell - With an orange-yellow stem and sheaths, lemon-yellow flowers and an unspotted white lip.
2) forma intermedia Farwell - A predominantly brown plant with the stem and fruits light greyish-brown and the sheaths dark purplish-brown.
3) forma punicea H. H. Bartlet - A plant without a trace of brown, but with the stem and fruit lavender or purple and the sheaths much paler than the stem.
4) forma maculata with a pinkish-purple stem.
5) an unnamed purple form which flowers earlier than the other forms


Forma flavida is very rare and only known to exist from the central part of the Bruce Peninsula northwards. The stalk of Corallorhiza maculata appears above ground level only when flowering and producing seeds.


Guide to Orchids of North America The Canadian Field-Naturalist Vol III 1
The Orchids of Bruce & Grey


© Royal Botanical Gardens, Dr. Donald Gunn Image Collection.